The phrase “fit as a fiddle” is a simile that means being in good health; something that’s in sound condition.
Example: After a routine health check up with his local physician, Jeremy’s doctor concluded that he was healthy. In other words, he was as fit as a fiddle.
Synonyms/Related: in good condition, in shape, in working order
The Origin Of ‘As Fit As a Fiddle’
This phrase’s origin is not clear. However, it may have something to do with the maintenance involved in keeping a musical instrument in good condition. Indeed, instruments like guitars, flutes, drums and others require a level of care to keep them in good shape and functioning properly.
For example, let’s take a look at fiddles. These typically refer to stringed instruments, such as a violin (there is one portrayed in the picture above). In order to help a violin remain in a working state, its strings must be replaced if they break, tiny pegs need to be kept tightened, and it should be cleaned every now and then to prevent dust buildup. This sort of maintenance keeps the violin healthy or “fit,” so to speak.
So at some point, it seems a person’s health started to be compared to a well-maintained fiddle, though why this musical instrument was chosen out of all the others, that I do not know.
Anyhow, this saying goes back to at least the early 17th century. It’s written in a book entitled English-men for my Money, by Haughton William in the year 1616. There’s a part from it that reads:
“This is excellent ynfayth, as fit as a fiddle.”
That means this expression is over 400 years old, and it could very well be much older.
- I was worried Jake might get ill when we went on a trip to Hawaii, but a few days after returning home, he’s still as fit as a fiddle.
- Jane’s healthy diet, frequent exercising, and good overall hygiene all contribute to her being as fit like a fiddle.
Note: If you’re searching for common phrases, then Know Your Phrase can help. We have hundreds of expressions for you to explore. However, while doing so, keep in mind that the origin of some of them is, at times, unclear. Usually what’s provided in these cases are theories for how a saying may have originated. Also, we try to include the earliest known appearance of the phrase and will include a quote of it being used.